David Boudia wins 10-meter bronze to close out Rio Olympic Games

By USA Diving | Aug. 20, 2016, 7:37 p.m. (ET)
                 RIO DE JANEIRO – David Boudia (Noblesville, Ind./West Lafayette, Ind.) closed out the 2016 Olympic Games with a bronze medal in the men’s 10-meter competition as Team USA wrapped up diving competition Saturday. It was Boudia’s second medal of the 2016 games and fourth career Olympic medal.
                Boudia scored 525.25 points for the 10-meter bronze medal, finishing behind China’s Chen Aisen (585.30) and Mexico’s German Sanchez (532.70).
                “It’s been a long 24 hours. You do the prelims last night. It’s a three-hour event and then you have to turn around the next morning and try to be on it. Then you have to do it again in the finals,” Boudia said. “You’re doing 18 dives off a three-story building. Your body’s beat up, you’re tired, mentally exhausted, but I’m glad to be standing here with a bronze medal around my neck. It could have gone differently, but I’m glad this is the way it turned out.”
                Boudia, the 2012 Olympic champion on 10-meter, almost didn’t have a chance to win that fourth medal. He had to rally to qualify for the finals after struggling in the semifinals Saturday morning, finishing 10th to grab one of 12 spots into the finals.
                Heading into the finals, Boudia made a decision to change his dive order in hopes it would work to his advantage. He had missed his most difficult dive, a front 4 ½ tuck, in both the preliminaries and semifinals. He normally does the dive in the middle of his list, but chose to put it as his last dive in the finals.        
                “I think the last dive was more a tactical decision. If it was in the middle of my list (in finals), it could have put my performance on a downhill slant. We wanted to go in with five dives that we knew we could hit, so we were exteremely confident that we could do that. I hit five decent dives. A couple of them were awesome, other ones were OK. But I had five dives that gave me confidence going in,” Boudia said.
                Boudia hit each of his first five dives for more than 80 points, including a fifth-round back 2 ½ somersault with 2 ½ twists that scored 102.60 points that put him in second place, 15.3 points ahead of third and 30.45 points ahead of fourth place, with the front 4 ½ still to come.
                He finished with just 68.25 points on the 4 ½ tuck. Although Sanchez overtook him for silver, it was enough to keep him on the podium.
                “This dive has been a thorn in my side the last four years. My takeoff is absolutely perfect, but I cannot find the bottom to save the life of me. I chose to do it at the end of this competition because I wanted that pressure. I live off those nerves, and I wanted that. I just didn’t go my way,” Boudia said.       

               With two medals in Rio, Boudia now has four career Olympic medals. In addition to the silver and bronze he won in Rio de Janeiro, he won individual gold and synchronized bronze in London.  He became the first American diver to win individual 10-meter medals in back-to-back Olympics since Greg Louganis won gold in 1984 and 1988.

                “It’s pretty special. I walked away from this Olympic Games with two medals. Two-for-two. This one’s bronze. It’s pretty special to be able to share this with USA Diving, my wife, my daughter, my family,” Boudia said. “It’s pretty cool, at my last two Olympics, I’ve done four events and have four medals.”
                Earlier on Saturday, Boudia’s synchro partner Steele Johnson (Carmel, Ind./West Lafayette, Ind.) just missed a spot in the finals after scoring 447.85 points for 13th place, six points behind Korea’s Woo Haram.
                Johnson’s best dive came in the final round, when his back 2 ½ with 2 ½ twists scored 82.80 points. He scored between 70 and 77 points on each of his other five dives.   
                “It’s the nature of the beast. I feel like I’ve been through this before. I’ve gotten fourth place a lot of times, and 13th is just the same to me. Just missing out on the podium or the final by just a little bit always stings,” Johnson said. “It’s frustrating, but at the same time, I just wasn’t on today.”
                Johnson is already looking ahead to Tokyo and said his results in the individual competition will provide extra motivation.  
                “I’m happy with where I ended up because it’s going to be the best thing for me. It’s going to make me hungry so when I come back in four years, I’m going to have so much fire under me and be a lot more relentless in this competition,” Johnson said.